Author: Rachel Hawkins
Series: Hex Hall #3
Genre: Paranormal YA
Publisher: Hyperion Children’s
Release date: March 13, 2012
Summary: Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.
Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?
I have to admit, guys, that I was a little late to Rachel Hawkin’s Hex Hall series. Nothing personal. It was just one of those, “Oh, I need to read these books soon!” kind of things, where “soon” means “unintentionally not for a while yet.” THANKFULLY, I got around to the first two books last year because that meant I could wait with baited breath for the third and final book, SPELL BOUND, with the rest of the people in the know. Because the Hex Hall series–including SPELL BOUND–is fun, dramatic, zippy, and imaginative. I’m on the bandwagon. But let’s get down to the real business here: my thoughts on how things wound up for our girl Sophie and the rest of the gang. Preview: my thoughts were GREAT (great meaning “positive” of course). Here’s also where I issue a big honking SPOILER WARNING for anyone who hasn’t read the first two books yet. So, SPOILER WARNING.
When we last saw Sophie and the gang, in the aftermath of the burning of Thorne Abbey, headquarters of the Council, Cal sent Sophie, who’s magic had been restrained by those scheming, evil Casnoffs, off to find her mother. According to Cal, Sophie’s mom was with the–DUN DUN DUNNN–Brannicks, infamous Prodigium hunters. Sophie’s dad had lost his powers entirely, her new demon friends had flown off the handle, her best friend Jenna was missing, and Archer was last seen in the burning Thorne Abbey. Cal, Archer, Jenna, and Sophie’s dad are all feared dead.
I’m guess that it wouldn’t be a huge spoiler to tell you guys that when I say “feared” dead, it’s because saying “known” dead would be wrong. Right? Because Sophie’s dad, Cal, Jenna, and Archer all play important roles in SPELL BOUND by Rachel Hawkins. The stakes here are high, there’s lots of creepy drama, loads of confusing relationships, secrets revealed, and a nicely tied up but still open ending. What would those things be without Archer, Cal, Jenna, and Sophie’s dad?!
Really, though, as has been the case since HEX HALL, the real centerpiece of SPELL BOUND is Miss Sophie. Even though she’s struggling without access to her powers, she’s still funny, snarky, awkward, and fearless. And as always, I loved her. She’s so charming! Plus, Rachel Hawkins throws lots of THINGS at Sophie and she somehow manages to deal. It’s really hard not to like Sophie, and it’s even harder not to root for her.
Of course, all these THINGS Sophie has to deal with, well, she doesn’t deal with them alone. The supporting characters in SPELL BOUND are their perfectly wonderful, conflicted, humorous, loyal selves. I’m so glad that Sophie has Jenna and Archer and Cal, as well as some new characters, the Brannicks, to help her along. The way they all interact, even in the midst of all the SERIOUS, demons-taking-over-the-world drama, keeps things light. That’s not something I’ve encountered too often in paranormals, so I appreciated it here.
I know that I mentioned that lots of things finish up in SPELL BOUND, but Rachel Hawkins is sneaky guys! Yes, Sophie chooses between Cal and Archer (the romance in SPELL BOUND is good, btw!), and yes, the issue with her powers being bound is resolved. The ending is kind of tied open, if you follow me. The main action is all sorted out, and the big questions that have been lingering are answered, but a whole new, REALLY interesting can of worms is opened up, too, that only makes me more excited for the Hex Hall spin-off series that’s starting up next year. Aside from the can of worms, I’m hoping that we get to know the Brannicks a little better, especially Finley and Izzy and Torin (he’s not technically a Brannick, but, well…consider yourself mildly teased).
SPELL BOUND by Rachel Hawkins was a really satisfying conclusion to this Hex Hall series, friends, and I’m even more excited to see where the spin-off series goes! This world is exciting and vibrant and full of unexplored mythology (personally? I’d love to get some direct action with The Eye. Amiright?), so I know that whatever comes next for Sophie or whoever is at the center of the new series, it’s going to be AWESOME.